Caring Architecture: Institutions and Relational Practices
Architecture is hard stuff. It is formed by walls, roofs, floors, all components of hard materials, stone, glass and wood. It distributes people in space and directs their doings and movements. Institutions are even harder stuff. Order is pushed a step further by the coerciveness of discursive architectural models and caring practices, restricting options to certain ways of thinking and acting. This book illuminates how people and spaces negotiate, and often challenge, regularities and patterns embedded in the meeting between architecture and institutions. It contains a number of essays by authors from disciplines such as human geography, architecture, planning, design, social work and education. The contributions discuss different examples from institutions in which care is carried out, such as assisted living facilities, residential care for children, psychiatric care facilities, hospitals, and prisons. By adopting a non-representational perspective, emergent practices render visible capacities of being flexible and mouldable, in which institutional architecture is defied, contested and transformed. New situations appear which transgress physical space in partnership with those who populate it, whether humans or non-humans. This book reveals the relational and transformative conditions of care architecture and the ways in which institutions transform (or not) into caring architecture.
Catharina Nord is Associate Professor at the Swedish School of Planning at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH), Karlskrona, Sweden, where she teaches in the Master’s programmes in Urban Planning and Strategic Spatial Planning. For a number of years, she has carried out research on ageing and architecture, and is currently working on architectural space and care practice in assisted living facilities. She explores these institutional buildings mainly with the support of theories about relational space, assemblage theory and actor-network theory. She has substantial international experience through working and carrying out research for a number of years in Namibia, Uganda and the UK.
Ebba Högström is Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies at the Swedish School of Planning at Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden, where she is also Director of the Master’s programme in Urban Planning. She received a PhD in Planning and Decision Analysis from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, and has extensive experience in architectural practice. Her research interests concern institutions, planning and architecture from a socio-material perspective, with a special interest in asylums and mental health care spaces. Currently, she is a Marie Curie Research Fellow at Human Geography at the University of Glasgow, UK.
"The strength ... of this collection is its temporal scope, in that the topics that are discussed within stretch from the Victorian period until relatively recently [...] Overall it illustrates that mores – moral, medical, and political – evolve and change over time as regards all types of institutional provisions, encompassing the physical and psychological needs of patients/residents and staff. Simply put, there are more points of convergence than would be expected on the surface."
Cristin Sarg University of Glasgow BMJ Blogs: Medical Humanities, 29.08.2017
"This edited collection will appeal to those medical and health geographers interested in geographies of care and therapeutic landscapes – particularly those who are also open to theoretical perspectives employing terms such as affect, becoming, spacing, ordering, and enactment. The value of this collection springs from its distinctive theoretical focus and the way in which it has been structured as a conversation between empirically oriented chapters and critical reflections on what is at stake when it comes to spatial design, the built environment and care. [...] While the geographic scope of this collection is limited (Sweden and Scotland), I recommend it to those seeking theoretically informed accounts of how matter and thought come together in institutional architecture through everyday practices of care. This collection experiments with various approaches to this relationality and illuminates pathways for considering the myriad ways in which power and resistance become entangled through such architectural spacings."
Joshua Evans, University of Alberta Social and Cultural Geography 19/8 (2018)
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